J13.4 Translating Ensemble Weather Forecasts into probabilistic user-relevant Information

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 4:15 PM
618-620 (Washington State Convention Center)
Matthias Steiner, NCAR, Boulder, Colorado

Effective communication of uncertainty for risk management and safety requires a thorough understanding of the vulnerability of a particular user or infrastructure to weather. For practical purposes, the weather information will have to be translated into user impact information. Moreover, weather-related decisions increasingly rely on probabilistic information as a means of assessing the risk of one potential outcome over another. Ensemble forecasting presents one of the key approaches trying to grasp the uncertainty of weather forecasting. In the future, decision makers will rely on tools that fully integrate weather information into the decision making process. Through these decision support tools, weather information will be translated into impact information.

This presentation will highlight the translation of gridded ensemble weather forecasts into probabilistic user-relevant information. Examples will be discussed that relate to the management of air traffic, noise and pollution dispersion, water resources and flooding, road maintenance, and wind energy production. The primary take-home message from these examples will be that weather forecasts have to be tailored with a specific user perspective in mind rather than a “one fits all” approach, where a standard forecast product gets thrown over the fence and the user has to figure out what to do with it.

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